Lobachevsky University researchers study the effects of bee venom on living organisms

December 19, 2017

Despite a centuries-old history of studies of bee venom as a therapeutic agent, this field of research remains quite relevant today, when the use of synthetic drugs is not always effective and has a great number of side effects. In addition to analgesic properties of bee venom that are well known, a number of other useful properties have been established experimentally such as the ability to reduce blood pressure, antiarrhythmic action, radioprotective and antihypoxic effects, as well as antitumor activity.

Bee venom's high polyfunctionality is based on a unique combination of its components, including some proteins with enzymatic properties, highly active peptides (melittin, apamin, the mast-cell-degranulating (MCD) peptide, adolapin, tertiapin, secapin, minimin, cardiopep), and biogenic amines.

Bee venom peptides have an anti-inflammatory effect, both through direct action and indirectly through the modulation of all other regulatory systems. Thus, the pharmacological activity of small doses of melittin is mediated by the activation of a cascade associated with the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are powerful biological regulators. In addition, melittin has some protective properties, which underlies the radioprotective effects of bee venom. Melittin is also credited with antitumor activity. Its anti-inflammatory activity is associated with the action of the MCD-peptide, while adolapin, a component of bee venom, has an analgesic effect.

As they enter the body, bee venom components cause changes in the neurohumoral regulation of body functions not only through the activation of endogenous neuropeptides, but, possibly, as their direct sources.

Researchers of the UNN Institute of Biology and Biomedicine (IBBM) have established as a result of laboratory tests that bee venom and bee products inhibit the growth of malignant tumors, enhance biological activity of the body, and can also be used to treat diabetes mellitus.

Anna Deryugina, Head of the Department of Physiology and Anatomy of the UNN IBBM explains: "Currently, we are continuing the tests of a chemical compound including chitosan, gold nanoparticles and bee venom, in particular, in relation to the treatment of oncological diseases. We have found out that the compound synthesized by our colleagues at the UNN Faculty of Chemistry inhibits the growth of malignant tumors. Our institute has been testing this compound on rats for several years. This process takes quite a while, as always in medical tests. We look forward to the day in the future when cancer patients will be treated with beekeeping products, but athletes can already use these substances to enhance their performance and set records."

"This is a permitted biostimulator, which increases physical potential", continues Anna Deryugina. - "In particular, we are talking about royal jelly and propolis. We have also proved that bee venom can be used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Strange as it may seem, bee venom lowers the amount of sugar in the blood. Royal jelly and honey also reduce the sugar level. These drugs can be used for type 2 diabetes mellitus. They can also be used for type 1 diabetes, but with a much weaker effect. Of course, it is best to use royal jelly and honey for prevention, when the blood sugar level has not crossed the critical line."

UNN researchers are working to determine an effective dose of bee products. However, there are no doubts that bee venom and bee products can be used as biologically active additives to correct certain states of the human body.

"Our tests are especially important for the treatment of oncological diseases and diabetes mellitus, because they share the second place among the causes of death and are second only to cardiovascular diseases," - concludes the expert.

It is important to note that the therapeutic effect of bee venom is determined by the dose of poison administered. Upon exposure to bee venom, a stress reaction develops, which results in the activation of stress-realizing systems of the body. Thus, the protective forces and adaptive reserves of the body are enhanced, which can be effectively used in clinical medicine.

Lobachevsky University

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